Listeriosis – what you should know

South Africa is being gripped by a deadly food-borne disease, health authorities revealed on Tuesday.

No fewer than 557 cases of listeriosis, a bacterial disease, had been confirmed across South Africa, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told reporters in Pretoria.

Gauteng recorded the most cases followed by the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

But just what is listeriosis?

1. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention describes listeriosis as a serious, but treatable and preventable disease caused by the bacterium, listeria monocytogenes.

The bacteria is found in soil, water and vegetation. Animal products and fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables can be contaminated from these sources.

ALSO READ: NEWSFLASH: ‘Listeria outbreak warning’

2. Anyone could get listeriosis. However, those at high risk of developing the disease include newborn babies, the elderly, pregnant women, people with weak immunity such as HIV, diabetes, cancer, chronic liver or kidney disease patients.

3. The age groups most affected are neonates (those in the first 28 days of life) and in the age group 15-49 years. These two groups comprise 70 percent of all cases.

4. It can be treated with antibiotics.

5. It is believed that for this particular outbreak, the most likely possible source is contaminated food at the origin; for example, at farms as well as food processing plants.

6. Infection with listeria may result in:

– Flu-like illness with diarrhoea including fever, general body pains, vomiting and weakness

– Infection of the bloodstream which is called septicaemia

– Meningoencephalitis (infection of the brain)

ALSO READ: Measles outbreak: Mass vaccination campaign for Gauteng

7. The source of the outbreak is likely to be a food product that is widely distributed and consumed by people across all socio-economic groups.

8. While investigations are underway, the public has been advised to do the following:

– Keep clean.

– Wash your hands before handling food and often during food preparation.

– If you are handling or storing raw food, don’t touch already cooked food unless you have thoroughly washed your hands and utensils. In other words, separate raw from cooked food.

– Cook food thoroughly. Never eat half-cooked or uncooked food, especially meat products.

– Food that does not usually need cooking before eating must be thoroughly washed with clean running water. Families with no clean running water should boil their water before domestic use.

– Keep food at safe temperatures. Food that should be kept cold should be refrigerated and food to be served hot should be served hot.

ALSO READ: Swine flu outbreak in Pretoria?

– Use safe water for domestic use at all times. Also use pasteurised milk products. Where pasteurisation is not possible, boil the milk prior to use for own domestic consumption.

9. The first documented outbreak of listeriosis in South Africa was in 1977 when 14 cases were reported in the Johannesburg area.

Since then sporadic cases occurred throughout South Africa. In 2015, seven cases were reported from a tertiary hospital in the Western Cape.

No common source of exposure was found among these cases, although at least five of the seven were shown to be related on laboratory examination.

10. The latest outbreak was flagged by doctors at Chris Hani Baragwanath and Steve Biko hospitals in Gauteng who noticed an unusual number of babies being brought in with the illness.

They then notified the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.


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Dr. Nina: Enjoy the holiday baked goods, but never eat the dough | Columns

It’s that special time of year when we enjoy making and eating delicious homemade cookies, cakes and breads. And while “just a taste” of a yummy recipe batter may be tempting, think twice. It is important to steer clear of ingesting any bit of unbaked dough or batter that needs to be cooked, as it can make you dangerously ill.

While many are aware of the concerns of raw eggs and salmonella in unbaked batters, recent reports have revealed that even a taste puts you at risk of getting infected with Escherichia coli, because bacteria can thrive in raw, unbaked flour. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified a spike in the number of reported cases of E. coli infection in the past couple years and the investigation led to flour. And, yes, even a small amount can make you very sick.

While children are generally at greater risk of getting food poisoning than adults, no one, at any age, should ever take a lick from a whisk or a taste from the batter. Whether it’s pre-packaged or homemade, the heat from baking is required to kill germs that might be in the raw ingredients. The finished, baked product is far safer — and tastes great. By following safe food-handling practices when you are baking and cooking with flour, eggs and other raw ingredients, everyone can look forward to safely enjoying delicious, homemade holiday treats.

Dr. Nina’s What You Need to Know: About Raw Batters and Dough

Why you should never taste it: When most people think about health risks and cookie dough, they think about raw eggs. Eggs can be contaminated with salmonella, another type of bacteria, and food-safety recommendations encourage people to cook eggs until the white and yolk are firm to kill any bacteria. Because of this concern, many people bake using eggs that have been pasteurized to kill any harmful bacteria without actually cooking the egg itself.

Now there is another risk to consider in relation to raw dough: the flour itself. Just a week ago, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported on the detective work that led to the recall of more than 10 million pounds of flour in summer 2016. It confirmed a type of E. coli bacteria previously lurking in wet environments such as hamburger meat and leafy vegetables also was thriving in the dry host of flour. Food-borne illness experts underscored, “It’s a new view of flour — that this dry, powdery substance, stored on a shelf for months, could have a live microorganism that didn’t spoil the flour but still could make you sick.”

Flour, typically a raw agricultural grain product directly from the field, generally has not been treated to kill germs or bacteria like E. coli. And germs can contaminate grain while it’s still in the field or at other steps as flour is produced

The FDA’s Office of Food Safety experts explain it this way: “If an animal heeds the call of nature in the field, bacteria from the animal waste could contaminate the grain, which could then be harvested and milled into flour.” And common “kill steps” applied during our food processing (so-called because they kill bacteria that cause infections) include boiling, baking, roasting, microwaving, and frying. But with raw dough, no kill step has been used. So for your final baked product, the high, sustained cooking heat will kill pathogens.

In addition to refraining from ever tasting uncooked flour dishes, it’s important to wash your hands in hot, soapy water after handling dough or flour, such as after dusting a rolling pin, counter top or dredging fish fillets. As for your final baked product: high, sustained cooking heat will kill pathogens.

Expanding the caution: The recent study result expands the array of raw goods to be concerned about — to even include homemade playdough. In tandem with health professionals, the CDC has posted warnings: Do not taste or eat any raw dough or batter, whether for cookies, tortillas, pizza, biscuits, pancakes or crafts made with raw flour, such as homemade play dough or holiday ornaments.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who helped develop warnings on eating raw flour products, warn children were among the most vulnerable noting, “As an adult you have the information to determine whether to take that risk, but when you give a child a ball of raw dough (or a taste of that batter), you’re putting risk values on that child.”

And parents and caretakers of young children should be particularly aware not only at home — but with other environments too. For instance, if your child is in day care or kindergarten, a common pastime may be art using “play” clay that is homemade from raw dough. Even if they’re not munching on the dough, they may be putting their hands in their mouth after handling the dough. Childcare facilities and preschools should discourage the practice of playing with raw dough or making homemade uncooked, play dough.

And so what about that cookie-dough ice cream? Good news, the commercial treats like cookie-dough ice cream is not only pasteurized but also heat-treated.

Possible effects of eating raw dough: Raw food products can harbor bacteria that can cause you to become ill, including fever, stomach pain, fatigue and chills. And we see symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramping because our body goes into full attack mode to get rid of the bacteria. In doing so, we lose fluids and also may not be able to ingest them, which can result in dehydration. Severe cases of dehydration can lead to acute kidney failure.

Generally, foodborne bacteria will cause symptoms within 1 to 3 days of eating the contaminated food — but sickness has been known to also occur within a half hour or up to 6 weeks later.

If you have any symptoms, see a medical doctor, immediately.

• Do not taste or eat any raw dough or batter, whether for cookies, tortillas, pizza, biscuits, pancakes or crafts made with raw flour, such as homemade play dough or holiday ornaments

• Do not let children play with or eat raw dough, including dough for crafts

• Bake or cook raw dough and batter, such as cookie dough and cake mix, before eating

• Follow the recipe or package directions for cooking or baking at the proper temperature and for the specified time

• Do not make milkshakes with products that contain raw flour, such as cake mix

• Do not use raw, homemade cookie dough in ice cream (again, the cookie dough ice cream sold in stores contains dough that has been treated to kill harmful bacteria)

• Keep raw foods such as flour or eggs separate from ready-to eat-foods. Because flour is a powder, it can spread easily

• Follow label directions to refrigerate products containing raw dough or eggs until they are cooked

• Clean up thoroughly after handling flour, eggs, or raw dough

• Wash your hands with warm running water and soap after handling flour, raw eggs, or any surfaces that they have touched

• During clean-up ensure that all the bowls, utensils, countertops, and other surfaces are washed thoroughly with warm, soapy water

• Consider using paper towels to clean up kitchen surfaces. If you use cloth towels, launder them often in the hot cycle

• If you have any recalled flour products in your home, throw them away.

The recent investigative reports serve as a very important reminder to each of us as the FDA turns up the volume in warning to be vigilant at all times of the year — but an added reminder during these holidays as our kitchens heat-up

Like many of you, I love the tantalizing foods of the holidays — from gingerbread houses to sugar cookies to red velvet cake to bread pudding, the list goes on. I cherish the time spent together baking with my family and friends along with the delightful tastes that make for wonderful memories. But let’s be sure to take these steps to reduce the risk of experiencing harmful effects related to the batter handling.

Dr. Nina Radcliff, of Galloway Township, is a physician anesthesiologist, television medical contributor and textbook author. Email questions for Dr. Nina to [email protected] with “Dr. Nina” in the subject line. This article is for general information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions and cannot substitute for the advice from your medical professional.

Inspectors ding restaurants for storing food improperly

Restaurants in Manatee County were dinged by food inspectors for storing raw food on top of cooked food, holding food at the wrong temperatures and appearing to falsify employee training documents in the latest inspections report.

  • At Kostas Family Restaurant, 1631 Eighth Ave. W., Palmetto, inspectors discovered encrusted material on a can opener’s blade and cited the restaurant for not including a consumer advisory for undercooked foods on the menu. Some employees at the restaurant lacked proof of state-approved employee training and there was not a certified food service manager on duty.
  • Inspectors at Sombreros, 1330 U.S. 301, Palmetto, discovered refried beans, shredded cheese and cooked chicken held above the suggested 41 degrees in a walk-in cooler. There were also issues with cooked food being held below the suggested 135 degrees and the menu did not state with menu items contain raw or undercooked food.
  • Clubhouse Sandwich Café, 323 10th Ave. W., Palmetto, was cited for not having sanitizer available for warewashing. The restaurant was ordered to use single-use items to serve food until the sanitizer was replaced. A stop sale was issued on sour cream, raw chicken and house-made ranch and blue cheese dressings after food inspectors discovered that they weren’t being kept below 41 degrees in a reach-in cooler. There also wasn’t a certified food manager on duty during the visit.
  • Raw animal food was stored over cooked food at Island Ocean Star, 902 S. Bay Blvd., Anna Maria. Inspectors also say cooked and uncooked foods were being stored at too-high temperatures and the wiping cloth sanitizer solution exceeded the maximum concentration allowed.
  • At Ugly Grouper, 5704 Marina Dr., Holmes Beach, inspectors discovered food that was cold held at a temperature higher than 41 degrees. Inspectors say that the restaurant also stored raw food over cooked food in its walk-in cooler. There was also a trash can blocking employee access to the hand-washing sink, which contained soiled dishes. Inspectors also say employee training documents seemed to be falsified.

All Pet Foods are Not Created Equal and That Includes Raw

All Pet Foods are Not Created Equal and That Includes Raw
A raw food diet is keeping 22 y.o. Panda in outstandingly good health.

As neither a vet, nor a nutritionist, I will not give advice or recommend diet for your pet here. However, I have gotten to know many pets very well in recent years as a sitter and their differing diets and fitness have certainly raised my curiosity about the role of nutrition in pet health. Here are my observations and a few resources if you have the same curiosity.

Recently I had the pleasure of spending a few days with Panda, pictured above, whom I nicknamed Mr. Jingles after the supernaturally long-lived mouse in The Green Mile.

Panda is 22 years old.

I promise if you met him and I told you he were 8 or 9, you wouldn’t doubt me for a second. His luxuriant coat is thick and sleek. He is agile, well-muscled, purrs like a motorboat and has clear, beautiful eyes. He is so bad-ass that he can stop a howling pack of beagles in their tracks with a single low rumble and a “Feelin’ lucky, punks?” look in his eye. He’s a specimen that commands respect.

madeleine-3As for that pack of rescue beagles…they range in age from 10 to 16, and are likewise thriving although the eldest is no longer able to run with the rest of them. This is particularly impressive given that they came from rough backgrounds. One’s misshapen jaw stands as testament to the horrendous conditions endured by breeder dogs in the puppy mills which supply pet retailers with their bouncy inventory.

How can these seniors all be thriving?

For this family, a combination of diet and holistic veterinary care has been the answer. In terms of diet, their owner is a staunch advocate of a species-appropriate raw diet, a trend that is growing among pet guardians eager to provide optimal nutrition for their charges. (Raw Bistro is this owner’s food of choice.)

This gorgeous boy has numerous food allergies that have taken a raw diet and acupuncture to get under control.

This gorgeous boy has numerous food allergies that have taken a raw diet and acupuncture to get under control.

Raw diets are not without their challenges, however. Cost can be prohibitive for some and DIYers can get their pets into serious trouble if they don’t know what they are doing. And homemade raw diets do require a tolerance for various animal parts appearing in one’s fridge. My current guest has been scarfing up chicken feet and tendons while carefully leaving sardine heads on my dining room floor this week. I’ve also handed out my share of raw turkey and duck necks.

For those who opt to buy their raw diets pre-packaged, there is still much to learn. If you have scanned pet food aisles (and freezers), particularly at boutique pet stores, the ever-expanding choices (and price tags) can be daunting.

What qualifies as raw anyway? Is raw kibble the same as freeze-dried, the same as frozen raw patties?

I was inspired to dig a little deeper into this question when one of my canine friends had a terrible experience with raw kibble. Terrible like her abdomen writhed as though aliens were about to pop out at any time. Terrible like you could barely sit in the same room for the emissions. It. was. BAD.

Turns out no, these various forms of raw food aren’t providing comparable nutrition. The processing required to turn raw ingredients into raw kibble and freeze-dried patties can significantly alter the quality.

And yet, the label still says raw and isn’t raw kibble better than conventional kibble? I honestly don’t know.  On the surface, it seems like it must be so. When faced with the decision, more and more folks are choosing the apparent upgrade. Heck, that’s what I would have done.

As a result, far too many well-intended pet guardians are trying really hard, spending lots of money in an effort to do the right thing for their pets, only to end up feeling discouraged and disillusioned when the results are poor. I know without question the guardian of the little gal on raw kibble has practically moved heaven and earth to bring this once unable-to-stand former puppy mill mom to a level of health that had her walking a full hour with me just last week. She’s a little miracle, due in no small part to her guardians advocacy but that food was a disaster for her.

So, yes, you DO have choices to make, whether you choose raw or a conventional food option.

Choice #1: Will you take a little time to dig a little deeper?

Not everyone is surrounded by dogs and pet professionals like I am now and when I look back at my early pets…Oh, to do it over again! So I’m with you guys…everyone is doing the best they can with the knowledge and resources they have at any given time. We all start where we’re at.

Your pet food choice may be heavily determined by your wallet, but even so, getting the biggest nutritional bang for your pet food dollar is a wise investment. Better nutrition can lead to fewer vet costs, after all. And besides, you want your companion to be able to do things with you for a long time and supporting their health is a way to do that.

We don’t all have time to research all the ins and outs of the pet food industry , and you may not ever get around to watching Pet Fooled, but if you are pressed for time and at least want to look up the food you are currently feeding your dog, check out Dog Food Advisor and see what they have to say. You can also sign up for recall alerts while you are there.

Cat owners will learn a lot by visiting this article at Their team researched 1,759 cat food formulas, spent months analyzing the cat food industry, and surveyed 97 veterinary professionals, as well as hundreds of devoted cat owners. Despite felines’ complicated dietary needs, they were only able to identify 9 formulas that contained high-quality, risk-free ingredients.

For both dog and cat owners, if you want a general overview of your pet food options from best to worst, here is a great overview article by Dr. Karen Becker.

The key is to do the best you can with what you have. A little research now will help set your pet on the path to optimal health for years to come.

If you have found resources that have been particularly helpful, please leave in the comments (although spam and other such nonsense will be deleted).

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The Danger Lurking in Raw Pet Foods

Cats eating raw pet foods can shed bacteria responsible for antimicrobial resistance, posing a public health risk.

Antimicrobial resistance is a global problem in human and veterinary medicine. Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)– and AmpC beta-lactamase (AmpC)–producing bacteria contribute to this resistance and transmit their resistance-conferring genes through plasmids. ESBL/AmpC-producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL-pE) has been identified in several sources, including food animals, which poses a major concern for human health. The Enterobacteriaceae family contains Escherichia coli.

ESBL-pE has also been isolated from companion animals. Previous studies have reported similarities in ESBL-pE strains between humans and companion animals. Such findings raise the question of whether direct contact with animals or their feces increases the risk for antimicrobial resistance transmission.

Raw pet food (RPF) consumption has been considered a potential risk factor for ESBL/AmpC shedding in companion animals. In addition, previous studies have reported ESBL-pE within RPF products. To date, however, no studies have investigated an association between RPF consumption and ESBL/AmpC shedding. The current study, recently published in PLoS ONE, reported this association, demonstrating that RPFs are “an important risk for ESBL/AmpC shedding in household cats,” the study investigators wrote.


Thirty-six unrelated pet cats were divided into 2 experimental groups according to commercial diet type: non-RPF (control group, n = 17) and RPF (exposed group, n = 19). The investigators selected 35 non-RPF and 18 RPF diets for the study.

The cats’ owners fed the assigned diet type, completed a questionnaire, and submitted a once-weekly fecal sample for 3 consecutive weeks. In total, 108 fecal samples were collected (51, control; 57, exposed).

Fecal samples were first cultured on agar plates with cefotaxime. Bacterial colonies then underwent further genetic analyses to identify and characterize the bacterial species and genes. The 53 commercial pet foods underwent similar culture and genetic analyses.

Fecal Sample Analysis
Approximately 65% of fecal samples were culture-positive in the exposed group, compared with only 6% in the control group. Fecal bacteria concentrations were higher in the exposed group.

Investigators identified 135 E coli isolates, 114 of which had ESBL/AmpC-encoding genes. Eighty-one isolates contained the blaCTX-M genes; previous studies have noted that CTX-M beta-lactamases, which are among the most frequently isolated ESBLs, have played an important role in the evolution of antimicrobial resistance. The specific blaCTX-M genes identified in the current study were similar to those found in food animals, which was expected given that poultry and beef are common protein sources in pet food.

Statistical analysis indicated a strong association between RPF consumption and ESBL-pE fecal shedding, making “RPF a probable source of ESBL/AmpC shedding in companion animals,” the investigators wrote. Factors such as other in-contact animals and predation habits were not significantly associated with ESBL-pE fecal shedding.

Food Analysis
Nearly 80% (14/18) of the RPF diets contained ESBL-pE. None of the non-RPF diets contained this bacterium.

Taken together, this study’s findings highlight the risk of feeding raw pet food to companion animals for both the animals as well as their owners handling raw pet food,” concluded the investigators. They advised that pet owners be made aware of the risk of ESBL-pE transmission when handling raw pet food.


Dr. Pendergrass received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. Following veterinary school, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Emory University’s Yerkes National Primate Research Center. Dr. Pendergrass is the founder and owner of JPen Communications, a medical communications company.

Recipe: Mint chocolate green smoothie by Raw Chef Debra Garner

Mint goes hand in hand with the holiday season. Minty candy canes, mint chocolates, mint hot chocolate and more. This green smoothie will give you a blast of mint and a power punch of nutrition, too!

The following are some of the benefits of mint:

Promotes digestion

Aids in weight loss

Improves oral health

Good for your skin

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Alleviates allergies and hay fever

Protects against radiation-induced DNA damage

Good treatment for IBS

This recipe also contains the meat and water of a young Thai coconut. If you have never seen a young Thai coconut — they’re white and wrapped in plastic — you can find them at Walmart and Raley’s. The water is sterile and so delicious — nothing like coconut water that comes in a carton. Please watch a YouTube video on how to open it safely before trying to do it on your own.

The coconut water has numerous benefits including:

Full of electrolytes

Kills intestinal worms

Soothes urinary tract infections

Urinary antiseptic

Reduces food cravings

Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal

Boosts metabolism

Full of enzymes to aid in digestions and more …

You will need a good blender to make this smoothie. You will make 4-5 servings from this recipe. My boys love it so I rarely have leftovers, but you could freeze the leftovers to make minty chocolate popsicles. 

Mint chocolate green smoothie


1/2 a bunch of fresh mint (you can add more if not minty enough)

1-2 cups of spinach

1/3 cup of raw cacao powder

Meat and water of one young Thai coconut

4-6 frozen bananas (depending on size)

Enough water to blend

2-3 medjool dates (if you need added sweetness)


Place in blender all the greens, the young Thai coconut water and meat, and cacao powder. Blend it down. Add the bananas and water to blend.

Add more mint if needed. Add the dates if you need added sweetness. Blend until smooth. Serve and enjoy.

Recipe by Raw Chef Debra Garner. To learn more about the raw food/plant based diet and Debra’s services, visit her website at She offers a six-week raw vegan/plant based coaching program as well as ready-made raw vegan creations.

See a doctor if you drank raw milk, federal officials warn

Federal officials are warning anyone who has consumed raw milk in the past six months to see a doctor.

The warning issued by the Center for Disease Control came a week after the New Jersey Department of Health ordered Udder Milk stop selling its raw milk in the state.

Whole Food expands recall of raw milk cheeses

A New Jersey woman came down with Brucella RB51, a rare but potentially serious germ after drinking raw milk delivered by Udder Milk in late September, officials said. She has since recovered. A person in Texas was sickened by raw milk in July but the cases aren’t related, according to the Center for Disease Control.

The CDC said people who drank raw milk should see a physician to obtain antibiotics.

Pregnant woman are particularly at risk. 

Udder Milk has been distributed in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island, but officials haven’t determined where the milk was produced. The company is a “co-op on wheels” that makes deliveries

People who have consumed the milk and other products made from Udder Milk raw milk should check themselves daily for fever for one month after they last drank the milk and watch for other brucellosis symptoms for six months. Symptoms include muscle pain, lasting fatigue, arthritis, depression, and swelling of the testicles.

Untreated Brucella RB51 infection can result in long-term health problems like arthritis; heart problems; enlargement of the spleen or liver; and, in rare cases, nervous system problems like meningitis. RB51 can cause severe illness in people with weakened immune systems and miscarriages in pregnant women.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Jeff Goldman may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find on Facebook.



Feeding your soul, skin at Spa Chappelle

You would be hard-pressed to find someone more passionate about holistic skincare in our city.

Shannon Chappelle, owner of Spa Chappelle in both Bedford and St. Margaret’s Bay, has been an esthetician and skin therapist for 23 years — but her passion goes deeper than what you see on the surface. Her work is dedicated to serving skin both inside and out.

“The first nine years of my career were really holistic esthetics. I learned that we want to use non-toxic skin care and makeup, but also that systemically was when I witnessed the biggest transformation,” says Chappelle, who began her journey into holistic esthetics to investigate problems with her own skin.

As a teenager Chappelle struggled with acne and not just a few breakouts. She describes that period in her teens as a time that affected her self-esteem and left scars on her skin to remind her. When she began her career in esthetics and made the connection between what we put in our bodies and what our skin looks like, she says it just clicked.

“I was 25. I went on my first juice and raw food cleanse and it transformed my mind, my body and definitely my skin. It became my mission to build my practice around educating my clients on taking care of their skin both inside and out — when we sister both modalities, we get the best results.”

In both spas, the skin care line of choice is Eminence, a well-respected organic spa line that uses fruits, vegetables and other herbs to treat the skin. The Hungarian-Canadian line produces organic peels that create remarkable results without typical chemical peel down-time (redness, flaking and peeling). Chappelle has been using Eminence since she opened the doors to the St. Margaret’s Bay location 11 years ago and continued to carry it in the Bedford location, which opened a little more than four years ago.

They also carry Bend Beauty and Nova Scotia Naturals supplements, which both support skin health as well as non-toxic mineral makeup by Jane Iredale, and their own line of organic herbal teas, Sweet Skin Tea and Sweet Skin Detox Tea. The formula is not just for drinking; it can be used as a treatment for skin, which they do during facials in-house with dampened cloths. Chappelle formulated the tea after researching herbs that feed the skin. Every client that walks in the door is offered a steaming cup of the blend.

Chappelle talks the talk and walks the walk — choosing a lifestyle that she not only recommends for clients, but for herself and her family. She bases much of her inner beauty regimen on whole, organic, plant-based foods and regularly takes part in detoxification rituals. When clients leave, they part with a prescription of not just what to use on their skin, but for their skin, including diet tips, detox recommendations and a reminder to slow down and embrace self-care — all items Chappelle checks off on her own list.

Although Chappelle is the owner of two busy spas and is a mother of three, she still makes time to be in the treatment room with clients. Her facials are in demand, not just for her wealth of knowledge of skin, but for her remarkable touch, known in the spa industry as “magic hands.” Spa Chappelle facials, performed by all of her staff, are customized with organic products to suit each individual. An arm and hand massage, as well and Indian head massage and a tension-releasing facial massage go far beyond just treating the skin.

“I love seeing that moment of peace come to someone during our facials,” says Chappelle. “Another important philosophy of ours is about the power of touch — in our insane fast world, if we can bring an hour of peace, it can be transformative.”

Denise Surette is a Custom Content editor, long-time beauty columnist and former medical esthetician. She lives in Lawrencetown with her family, two cats and a closet-full of makeup.

Wild Harvests – Flathead Beacon

Foraging can be a dangerous and delicious game, taking us on a primal treasure hunt with ancestral motivations and leading us to a hidden haven of feral food holding unbound culinary potential.

Dine out in the Flathead Valley, where a clutch of local chefs have integrated their passion for wild food foraging into their seasonal menus and nightly dinner specials, and your palate is apt to unwittingly detect nutrient-packed hints of spruce buds, nettle, mint, watercress, pearly everlasting, currants, salsify, wild onions, and more, all procured in the mountain ranges and river bottoms that radiate throughout the region.

Besides knowing which wild species are safe to eat, foraging in the forest poses other risks, like jumping a bedded-down moose or getting skunked after days of scouring densely thicketed mountainsides and valleys, bush-belaying down steep pitches carpeted in devil’s club and alder to inspect a shady clearing, and still leaving the woods empty-handed yet hungry — literally and figuratively — for more.

It can also be an immensely rewarding experience, particularly after a productive day when crates teem with a wild harvest and sizzling sauté pans eagerly await the cook’s return.

The Rocky Mountain region’s diverse geography melds the plains, the Northern Rockies and the Pacific Northwest into a peculiar ecological potpourri that overflows with edible plant species, the perfect complement to the region’s stable of talented chefs and top-rated restaurants, where the verve of innovation and the momentum of the farm-to-table movement mixes with an earthy array of wild-caught ingredients.

Shrimp russula, right, and morel mushrooms. Greg Lindstrom

For foraging foodies like Wayne Sheffield, a seasonal chef at Walking Lightly Ranch near Whitefish, the ground is a grocer, a wilderness Whole Foods brimming with flavorful delicacies — an outdoor oasis and living mosaic of wild food that fluctuates with the seasons, the hodgepodge of geography and the erratic rhythms of Rocky Mountain river systems.

In addition to the bounty of sweet, tender greens, there are, of course, mushrooms. Every forager is well versed in the mycological gradation of the forests, and while the morels of spring are the best-known wild culinary mushroom species, many other even more coveted varieties can be found throughout the year.

In Montana, Sheffield hunts a handful of mushroom species, including boletes, which taste like an earthy mixture of smoke and coffee, as well as white chanterelles and chicken of the woods. Then there’s the squat, fat-bottomed Montana porcini and, perhaps most famously, the matsutake.

If you don’t know your hierarchy of prized wild mushrooms, matsutakes (matsies for short) are revered in Japan and the most expensive mushroom in the world (since truffles aren’t technically a mushroom).

In Japan, they’re collected in the fall, but harvests there have begun to dwindle, and now matsutakes are harvested and imported from a number of different places, including the Pacific Northwest.

If one hasn’t had the pleasure of eating a matsutske, it’s prized for its aroma — a cinnamon-spicy-cedar combination that’s hard to describe. Young mushrooms picked before the veil that covers the gills breaks open are the most cherished, and typically have the strongest flavor.

“One of the fun things I love about Montana is finding new spots and exploring different ranges to forage,” said Sheffield, who has foraged throughout the Mountain West, including Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Arizona. “That has really further inspired my love of the state. It’s just so different here. People hear the Northern Rocky Mountains and think it’s so homogenous, but these landscapes are so diverse.”

Wayne Scheffield harvests watercress west of Kalispell. Greg Lindstrom

In his free time, Sheffield treks to the Yaak and the North Fork Flathead River, the Bitterroot, Beaverhead and Belt mountains, and he keeps his finger on the pulse of the weather.

On the clock, Sheffield designs farm-to-table forage dinners for the guests at Walking Lightly Ranch, which offers yoga and writing retreats and features a vegan, raw food kitchen.

The culinary importance of wild food isn’t just a means of survival, Sheffield said, but a way to promote health and wellness, enhance flavors and enjoy the experiential thrill of discovery.

“Today we don’t have a lot of opportunity to eat totally unadulterated food anymore, or to see firsthand the chain of life of the food we eat,” he said. “If you envision the life cycle of a cow from a major dairy or slaughterhouse, you’re not going to be inspired. But when you think of the lives of wild plants and mushrooms, you see a great life. How can these things not be an empowering food and a critical ring on the chain of life? It’s an intimate connection.”

Like a gardener, Sheffield watches his crop closely. He’s memorized spots where certain species grow, and he crisscrosses swaths of wilderness in search of fresh discoveries, never afraid of stumbling upon a new realm of possibility.

A recent dinner at Walking Lightly Ranch featured Big Belt porcini mushrooms and morels from the Salish mountains, with pasta and squash scallopine, a toasted walnut cream with chervil, huckleberries and a pine nut whipping cream, and a virgin cocktail infused with blackberry syrup from berries picked along the Hood River in Oregon.

“I think we have a very sophisticated food palate here,” Sheffield said. “Young chefs are moving here with progressive ideas and encouraging interest in foraging, and there’s more of an acceptance here than in other places. People aren’t afraid to eat wild food. In my experience, people are just good, adventurous eaters here, but some do have a fear of wild foods.”

Editor’s Note: Read more of our long-form journalism in Flathead Living. Pick up the fall edition for free on newsstands across the valley. Or check it out online at



Dog eating other animals’ droppings – Entertainment & Life –

DEAR DR. FOX: We have a 5-month-old miniature poodle puppy, and we walk her on a leash in the backyard to urinate and defecate. There are wild rabbits in the area, and they often leave their pellet droppings in the grass. Our puppy gobbles them up like dog treats when she finds them.

Is she likely to contract a disease from this habit? We pull her away quickly whenever we see her doing it, but she likely gets a pellet or two before we can react. — R.K., St. Louis, Missouri

DEAR R.K.: It is natural for dogs to eat fecal material, a habit called coprophagia, especially from rabbits, sheep, calves and deer. In poor countries, this also includes human poop, especially of toddlers, which endows the dog with an important community hygiene service where there are no diapers. Through this behavior, dogs derive nutrients and potentially essential bacteria (probiotics) for their digestive systems, as well as prebiotic fiber.

Many species engage in coprophagia and geophagia (eating dirt), including humans. Some, like the rabbit, engage in refection, wherein each batch of the animal’s semi-digested poop is eaten again to extract more nutrients.

Dogs indirectly play a role in the spread of beneficial bacteria and associated immunity to other species within the ecosystem. Children from homes with dogs have fewer allergies and shorter duration of infections with fewer antibiotics being prescribed, because they have more beneficial bacteria from their canine companions.

I say “all things in moderation,” and that goes for allowing a dog to eat dirt and the feces of other species, as well. The risk of infection and digestive upset are low, but not improbable. With your dog, consider how many disinfectants you use in and around the home and his virtually bacteria-free diet of cooked canned dog food and baked kibble. He needs to get into some good dirt on occasion. Try some raw foods, and supplements such as good quality probiotics, and bacteria-rich unpasteurized organic plain yogurt and kefir.

Also, it is best to have your dog on a harness when walking: A sharp pull-away command could cause serious neck injury if your young dog is leashed to a collar.


DEAR DR. FOX: My wife and I have just returned from a photo safari in Tanzania. We did see some great wildlife, but also a lot of sad and starving street dogs. Away from the “safe” tourist spots, we were advised that we were more at risk from people than wild animals. You seem to know a lot about what is happening to animals in various countries. What is your take on East Africa? — L.P., Washington, D.C.

DEAR L.P.: Having given lectures to veterinarians and done fieldwork in Tanzania, I admit to feelings of some deep ancestral connection with this incredible continent, as well as a great sadness for the plight of many people and the demise of the wild. So I offer this brief opinion:

Internecine strife seems inevitable where there is no effective family planning; continued intertribal conflict over natural resources; and disenfranchisement of those resources by corporate colonial agribusiness, mining, energy, timber and other industries. These issues are exacerbated by nonsustainable aid and development projects. Distributing vaccines, antibiotics and antimalarial drugs without food security will only extend human suffering.

The distance between improving the human condition and environmental and wildlife CPR (conservation, protection and restoration) is closed only by enlightened self-interest. The enlightened collective sense of humanity redefines itself as part of the Earth community and not master, slave or owner. Wildlife poaching, illegal trophy hunting, the trade in “bush meat” and land encroachment must all be more effectively policed and prosecuted.

With empathy for indigenous plants and animals and the ecologies shared, a bioethical foundation can be laid for socially just and economically sustainable communities, as I outline in my book “Bringing Life to Ethics.” Eco-tourism can do more harm than good where there is corruption and no local engagement and transparency.

But there are glimmers of hope: There are in-country organizations involved in conservation, wildlife protection, sustainable organic farming and livestock husbandry, as well as the neutering and vaccinating of those wonderful aboriginal village dogs I know well.

Send all mail to [email protected] or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns. Visit Dr. Fox’s website at